Heather glanced at his profile, taking in the sudden tension and the rawness that had replaced his easy cockiness. And though she didn’t know him, she ached for him.
And she wasn’t completely immune to the pain on Sue Tanner’s face, either, as she pressed her lips together and focused on ladling scoops of pancake batter into the now sizzling skillet.
“I just want you to be happy,” his mom said quietly.
Josh exhaled a tiny sigh that only Heather could hear before he stood and walked over to his mother, wrapping his arms around her in a hug that tugged at Heather’s heart.
Sue reached up a hand and patted her son’s cheek in reassurance that they were okay, and when Josh stepped away, Heather’s heart twisted even further when she saw his mother swipe a tear from her cheek.
What the heck had she stumbled into?
“Don’t do it, 4C.”
Heather glanced at Josh as he came and sat back in the chair next to hers, reaching for his coffee.
“Don’t do what?”
“Don’t go all soft on me now and let me think you’re nice. I won’t be able to handle it.”
“I am nice,” she insisted. “Super nice.”
“Excellent,” he said, back to his easy charm and wide smile. “So would now be a good time to tell you that my band’s coming over to practice tonight?”
Heather shoved her empty coffee mug his way. “Let’s just say that you making me more of that heavenly coffee is your best chance of me not strangling you with a guitar string.”
He scooped up his mug and stood with a wink. “Damned if I don’t like you a little bit, 4C, especially when you’re all pissy and shit.”
Heather ignored this, pointedly looking out the window as she took another sip of the insane coffee.
But damned if she didn’t like him a little bit, too.